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WilberforceFamily and Friends$
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Anne Stott

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199699391

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199699391.001.0001

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The Merchants’ Children

The Merchants’ Children

(p.7) 1 The Merchants’ Children

Anne Stott

Oxford University Press

This chapter is a joint study of the childhood and adolescent experiences of William Wilberforce and Marianne Sykes. Their two families were part of the Hull mercantile elite and their mothers were friends, and their youthful experiences form an instructive comparison and contrast. Wilberforce’s family background, schooling, and university career are described. It is argued that the adult Wilberforce can only by understood in the light of his childhood separation from his uncle and aunt. The discussion of Marianne Sykes focuses on her letters. It introduces one of the major characters in the book and throws light on the Midlands intelligentsia around Anna Seward and Erasmus Darwin.

Keywords:   William Wilberforce, Marianne Sykes, Hull, merchant families, Anna Seward, Erasmus Darwin, childhood separation

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